Chantal Noordeloos (born in the Hague, and not found in a cabbage as some people may suggest) lives in the Netherlands, where she spends her time with her wacky, supportive husband, and outrageously cunning daughter, who is growing up to be a supervillain. When she is not busy exploring interesting new realities, or arguing with characters (aka writing), she likes to dabble in drawing.
In 1999 Chantal graduated from the Norwich School of Art and Design, where she focused mostly on creative writing.
There are many genres that Chantal likes to explore in her writing. Currently Sci-fi Steampunk is one of her favourites, but her ‘go to’ genre will always be horror. “It helps being scared of everything; that gives me plenty of inspiration,” she says.
Chantal likes to write for all ages, and storytelling is the element of writing that she enjoys most. “Writing should be an escape from everyday life, and I like to provide people with new places to escape to, and new people to meet.”
TDBW: When did you start writing?
Chantal: It might sound obvious when I say ‘as soon as I could hold a pen’, but that’s not quite what I mean. I’ve been a storyteller my whole life, and was always making up weird and wonderful tales for my friends and family. When I could write I would put stories down. I often wrote about characters from books, but later on (when I was about 8 or 9) I made up my own characters. Though I never realized I loved writing until I was about 15, that’s when I first knew I wanted to do this for a living.
TDBW: What was the first story you remember writing?
Chantal: Peerke Pot and the snow mystery. I must have been about 8, and it was a Dutch story about a kid who found tracks in the snow. I don’t think I ever wrote an ending to it. I had this tendency not to finish stuff. The story that made me realize I loved writing was some post apocalyptic thing I wrote for my 9th grade teacher. He gave us a picture that went wonky in the development (this was pre-digital cameras) and it showed an attic room and a field, all mixed together. Most people wrote nice stories about the field or the room, and I wrote about a girl who survived the final war, and was all mutated and creepy… (what can I say… I was weird at fifteen, and it never stopped)
TDBW: What genre is your most preferred?
Chantal: I can’t say I prefer one single genre (why must I choose between my darlings??!! *bug eyes*) My ‘go-to’ genre is definitely horror. I can always find something that scares the heck out of me, so it’s easy to write about fear.
TDBW: What challenges you the most in your writing?
Chantal: Finding readers. You’d think that was easy, but being an unknown author is hard. These days we compete for attention with viral memes, and I often feel like I should be wearing some sort of light sign with arrows pointing at my head that read “READ ME” in neon. Perhaps I will make such a sign suit one day.
TDBW: What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Chantal: Goh!!! So much!! I love that I get to create all these worlds for people to come and visit. The best part if your work really reaches someone and you hear (or in most cases read about) them talking about your stories, and how much they loved it. That feels awesome. I love the freedom and the creativity I get to put in my work. It’s sad, but I’m a little obsessed with my job. I could talk about it all day.
TDBW: What do you like least about being an author?
Chantal: Marketing, it’s a necessary evil, but I often feel like a slightly dippy prostitute when I try to sell my work. Not a fan of my long editing process either. By the time I’m done with a piece of work, I really don’t want to read that story again (I will have read it about 30 times in a row)
TDBW: How many books do you currently have available?
Chantal: Two that are all mine. (I’m in more than a dozen anthologies) There is the first installment to my Steampunk / Weird West series, which is called ‘Coyote: The Outlander’, and my horror collection ‘Deeply Twisted’.
Just a few of Chantal anthologies:
TDBW: What projects are you currently working on?
Chantal: *grin* I’m a bit of a juggler with projects so, here it goes. I’m in the editing phase with my first short story (Pride) of a seven part series called ‘Even Hell Has Standards’ (It’s about the horrors in humanity)
My YA (young adult) novel Alleria is currently in the hands of my Beta Readers. I just finished the first draft of the second Coyote book (Coyote: the Clockwork Dragonfly) and I’m working on the story arc for a haunted house novel (no title as of yet)
Mostly it’s editing now.
TDBW: Do you have any books coming out soon?
Chantal: Yes, I hope that Pride will come out soonish, though it’s been pushed back a little, so I don’t know the exact date yet.
TDBW: Which book, or series, is your favorite?
Chantal: I assume you don’t mean my own? My favorite book would be ‘Neverwhere’.
TDBW: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Chantal: Neil Gaiman is my hero. I also love Terry Pratchett, Anthony Burgess, JK Rowling, Dorothy Parker, Douglas Adams, George R.R. Martin and many more
TDBW: Which book(s) inspire you the most?
Chantal: I’m always inspired by Gaiman. I loved his Sandman series (yes, yes… graphic novels, but still… inspirational)
To be honest, it’s rarely books that inspire me. On occasion a setting may spark my ‘brain farts’, but I tend to be more inspired by visuals.
TDBW: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what band(s) do you play?
Chantal: I play music, but only very softly. When I write I can’t deal with too many distractions. I tend to play Belly, CocoRosie, Mediaeval Baebes, The Pierces, Billy Holiday… stuff like that. I recently discovered the Staves, which I play when I write Coyote. It’s funny because the music I listen to when I don’t write is a lot ‘louder’.
TDBW: Any hobbies?
Chantal: I draw / paint, organize LARP (live action role play) events, role play (tabletop), play board games, watch movies, and I love going to theme parks and travelling.
TDBW: Tell us some more about yourself including your website and where we can find you on social media sites:
TDBW: Care to share a bit of one of your books with us?
Chantal: Sure, this is an excerpt of ‘Soulman’ which is in Deeply Twisted:
Underneath a bridge, on a crisp and cold night in Junction River, three figures sat, clad in the shadows of darkness. One, a fat man dressed in multiple layers of clothing, tried to start a fire in a self-made fire pit. He grunted slightly, and his breath created little clouds that resembled delicate wisps of smoke.
With silent grace, slow and deliberate, I made my way down to their chosen spot for the night.
“Well, hello, stranger.”
The man who spoke to me sat on a fold-out chair by the fire pit. He was Caucasian, in his late thirties, and he wasn’t handsome. His skin was coarse, and he had a pug nose. Still, if I didn’t know better, his friendly face and genuine smile might indicate that he was a friendly man.
“Have you come to warm yourself by our fire on this chilly October night?”
I blinked my one good eye to acknowledge his question, and my answer was a curt nod.
“Shit, what fire?” said a second man, dragging out the ‘i’ in ‘shit’. He glanced at the big man still struggling to light the wood in the fire pit. “That big motherfucker couldn’t light a fire if he was standing in Hell itself.”
The man on the bucket had a narrow face, and his skin was a patchy black. It appeared white at some parts, and darker at others, as if someone had randomly taken off his pigment with a paint scraper. His grin consisted of a few remaining teeth, brown from rot.
Heroin addict. It was easy to spot them. The drugs ate away at their souls as well as their bodies.
“Now, now, Master Weasel, let’s not doubt the capabilities of our giant friend here,” the man on the chair scolded with the flourish of a poet. “There is a special challenge in lighting the wood on a night like this.”
My eyes glanced over the man with the pug nose. His clothes were weathered, worn and faded, but I recognized the expensive brand of suit he wore. His stylish ensemble was somewhat ruined by the several layers of clothing he wore underneath, and the big grease stains that covered them, but it would be clear to anyone with a keen eye that this man was not born for the streets. This man came from the land of opportunity, in contrast to most of the ‘street-born’ who were thrown into poverty from their mother’s lap.
“Wood’s too wet,” the big man who tried to build the fire interjected.
From up close, I saw he was a giant of a man. What I mistook for fat was actually muscle, though his face was very chunky, and his large chin wobbled on his neck like a canvas bag of lard.
All three men dressed in thick layers to keep the cold wind at bay. In the stinging breeze, I smelled it, the sour scent of stale body odor mixed with garbage and smoke from previous fires: the scent of the street folk, the beggars and the forgotten men.
The large man bent down and held his lighter to the wood. I let out a soft breath, so gentle that no one saw, and the fire flared. A victorious yelp escaped the large man’s lips and echoed off the stones of the bridge’s foundation.
“I did it!” His voice vibrated low and deep but lilted with a childish tone. I saw the surprise on his face.
“Well done,” said the man on the chair. Then he turned to me and made a grand gesture with his arms as if he were a thespian. “Come and join our fire, stranger.” To his companion he said, “And come and sit, Big Dave; we shall share our spoils by the flames.” I sat on an overturned crate next to the man on the chair, and Dave sat to my right, on a stack of loose bricks.
The man on the chair stretched his back and shot me a satisfied smile. His hand, clad in a fingerless glove, reached underneath the layers of his clothing and he produced a flask. “To keep out the cold,” he explained as he lifted the flask to his lips. “Salute.”
“Save me some,” the small black man said. With a hungry grin, his dark eyes glanced at the little flask. “I’ve been thirsty all day.”
“Guests first,” said the man with the flask, and he handed it to me. “What is your name friend?”
I blinked and took the flask from his fingers. “They call me Soulman,” I answered and took a little swig. The bottle contained whiskey. It burned in my mouth, and I hated the taste, but I did not wish to be rude.
“Shit,” the little black man spoke again. “Soulman? Ain’t nobody ever tell you, you is white, motherfucker?” He laughed, revealing the stumps of a few remaining teeth.
Without showing any facial expression, I handed the flask to the big man who sat next to me.
“Ignore my rude companion,” the first man said. “Like you, we have adopted names for our street personas.” He pointed at the skinny black man. “That delightful fellow over there is called Weasel. I think the name derives from a combination of his memorable looks and his interesting personality.” The man next to me winked, and the black man spat on the ground. He reached his hand out as the large man handed him the flask.
“Shit,” he said again, adding a few extra syllables, and he rolled his dark eyes.
“That gentleman next to you is Big Dave,” the man continued. “And I…” he waved his hands past his torso with a dramatic motion, “am called the Candyman.”
He stuck out his hand, and I shook it. The man had a firm grip, and his eyes never left mine.
“They calls him that because he likes the children,” Weasel explained. He put the flask to his chapped lips and took a swig.
The Candyman raised a humble hand. “I don’t actually lure them with sweets,” he said. “Children are far too clever for such tricks these days. Men like me need to be more creative.”